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Case Watch

Published March 2015


Chinachem (April 2015) Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal – the latest stage of litigation concerning the estate of the late Nina Wang, who died in 2007, reputedly the richest woman in Asia, leaving an estate leaving worth HK $82.86bn. The case concerns the construction of a home-made will leaving the entire estate to a charitable corporation, the question being whether it took beneficially subject to the performance of certain conditions, or whether the imposition of those conditions caused it to hold on charitable trust. Final hearing April 2015. Brian Green QC and Mark Studer act for the appellant.

Ackerman v Line Trusts & ors

Ackerman v Line Trust & ors (November 2015) Gibraltar –  a 4 week trial concerning (a) trustees’ duties in respect of companies owned by the trust (b) the validity and operation of anti-Bartlett clauses and (c) reflective loss and other remedies issues. Terence Mowschenson QC and Jonathan Hilliard act for the defendants; John Wardell QC and Andrew Mold for the claimants.

Re Martin Montis

Re Martin Montis (October-November 2015) Chancery Division – a 6 week trial concerning a host of important issues, such as (a) when trustees can retain commissions that are paid to associated entities (b) when dividend distributions from foreign companies are capital or income and (c) whether founders’ rights for a Liechtenstein Anstalt pass under a will or outside it. Michael Furness QC and Tiffany Scott act for one trustee, who is also a beneficiary; Emily Campbell and Simon Atkinson act for another trustee.

Proteus and Samarkand v HMRC 

A film partnership scheme run by Future Capital Partners set up two film partnerships, Proteus and Samarkand, which attracted about £31m in investment. The investment money was used to purchase rights in famous Hollywood movies such as The Queen, Irina Palm and Oliver Twist. The rights were leased back to the studio, allowing investors to claim tax relief on the expenditure on the acquisition of films and certain other costs incurred by each respective partnership.

The partnerships are appealing to the Upper Tribunal the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal heard in May 2011. The appeal took place in June 2014 and the parties are awaiting a decision. Michael Furness QC  represented the taxpayers in the appeal to the Upper Tribunal.


The Earl of Cardigan’s case >>